Enough's Enough! I don't need every expansion for this game - just this one!
Dan Green
United States
West Fargo
North Dakota
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Some games will slowly eat away at all your money, coming out with a new expansion more frequently than you care for - and not all of them are good. Some games just need that ONE expansion, and everything else just messes too much with a proven formula. What expansions are the only one you need to feel like a game is "fully" expanded?
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1. Board Game: Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked]
Dan Green
United States
West Fargo
North Dakota
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Carcassonne is a game that, for my collection, thrives on its simplicity. There are plenty of games that provide more complex strategy and more fiddly bits to play around with, but the simple mechanics of "draw a tile, play a guy" are what keep the game hitting the table for new and experienced players alike.

Inns and Cathedrals adds little to the complexity of the game - an extra meeple that counts as two, interesting new tiles that use the same terrain, and the namesake +1-or-nothing inns and cathedrals. It doesn't change the way turns work, nor does it add new pieces with extra rules - the tiles take an extra 10 seconds to explain, but what they add to the game as far as pushing your luck and messing with your opponents is priceless.

For me, Carcassonne needs only this to continue hitting the table. Anything else just complicates the game unnecessarily.
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2. Board Game: Catan: 5-6 Player Extension [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Dan Green
United States
West Fargo
North Dakota
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I'm of the (perhaps rare?) breed of gamers that doesn't get tired of classic Catan. Its light gameplay and randomized board layout make it easy to play and replay again and again. The player interaction provided by the simple single-island board is unmatched in any of the bigger box expansions - the only thing it needs is more player support, and that's what the Extension provides.

Adding a 5th and 6th player is great, but to top that the additional (and clever) mechanic of building at the end of your opponents' turns takes the game into a new realm. It's still the same Catan - no new pieces or tiles to screw with the gameplay that's lasted for almost 2 decades - but the tension is ramped up when players are building much more frequently. It's easy, clever, and all that Catan needs.
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3. Board Game: Ascension: Return of the Fallen [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:551] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Dan Green
United States
West Fargo
North Dakota
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When I demoed Ascension at the GenCon before its release, the one thing that drew me in more than anything else was the ability to pick an archetype (or archetype mix) and develop your deck to fit that - pure Mechana and Enlightened/Void were two of my favorite decks to fight for. It was refreshing to see that you had to adjust your game plan over the course of a game - and coming from a Magic: the Gathering background, the similarities to drafting a deck were a driving force in my decision to buy it on the spot.

Unfortunately, Chronicle of the Godslayer had a few flaws, and one of the biggest was the lack of real identity for Lifebound. Return of the Fallen came to the rescue, giving Lifebound its own mechanic and introducing (renaming) the Fate cards that could help out players even when they don't get a chance to buy or defeat the card in question. Chronicle of the Godslayer and Return of the Fallen provide a tight deckbuilding experience that is unmatched in the following expansions - while they are interesting in their own rights, the use of Events and Treasures muddle your deckbuilding with cards you wouldn't have normally purchased. I'll admit that I still enjoy those expansions, but for fans of the pure draft-like deckbuilding of Chronicle of the Godslayer, the minimal variance Fate introduces is worth the new archetypes that develop from the new cards, especially Lifebound which finally becomes a worthwhile choice.
 
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4. Board Game: Zombies!!! 3: Mall Walkers [Average Rating:6.09 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.09 Unranked]
Jason
United States
WI
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I think this is the only expansion truly needed to complete Zombies!!! I have Zombies!!! 5: School's Out Forever and Zombies!!! 3.5: Not Dead Yet and have yet to add either one in. All 3 plays have just been the base set and Mall Walkers.

Zombies + Mall = Classic
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5. Board Game: Agricola: The Goodies Expansion [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
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If you like Agricola (and the stats here say you probably do), you know it's one of the most replayable games ever made. You also know that there are so many new decks, farmers of the moor, etc.

Don't. Just get this one to improve the experience of the base game (the newer editions with animeeples already included make this a tougher call, especially considering its hefty price). I also really like the Spring, Winter, and Autumn player boards, plus the stickers for the family members. And I can still fit everything in the base game box.
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6. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
suPUR DUEper
United States
Villa Hills
Kentucky
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LOTR is a great co-op game. Gorgeous boards and fairly thematic. Always feels tense for the Hobbits.

There were a couple of other expansions (Sauron and Battlefields) but truly the only one you need is Friends and Foes. It adds the Bree and Isengard Boards along with a series of bad guys which offer both another way to win and lose.
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